Supreme Court strikes down Montana law, reaffirms Citizens United.In the case American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed its 2010 Citizens United v. FEC See forward error correction.
FEC - Forward Error Correction decision in a 5-4 ruling that struck down a Montana state law banning independent expenditures on behalf of political candidates by corporations.
Montana law had stated that a "corporation may not make ... an expenditure in connection with a candidate or a political committee that supports or opposes a candidate or a political party." The court majority ruled, "In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, this Court struck down a similar federal law, holding that 'political speech does not lose First Amendment protection simply because its source is a corporation.'"
Steven Breyer's dissent argued that states should be able to ban corporate speech: "Montana's experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court's decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court's supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so."
The political Left has campaigned against the Citizens United decision for two years under the slogan that "corporations are not people." That's true; corporations and the SuperPacs created as a result of Citizens United are associations of people. And the First Amendment protects this right of the people to assemble and associate. The right to band together for a political cause and spend money for that cause was so well-entrenched in the American constitutional system by the 1830s that Alexis de Tocqueville Noun 1. Alexis de Tocqueville - French political writer noted for his analysis of American institutions (1805-1859)
Alexis Charles Henri Maurice de Tocqueville, Tocqueville noted in his Democracy in America De la démocratie en Amérique (published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840) is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville on the United States in the 1830s and its strengths and weaknesses. , "In no country in the world has the principle of association been more successfully used or applied to a greater multitude of objects than in America ... [which] consists simply in the public assent which a number of individuals give to certain doctrines and in the engagement which they contract to promote in a certain manner the spread of those doctrines. The right of associating in this fashion almost merges with freedom of the press, but societies thus formed possess more authority than the press."
Indeed, how else could American citizens band together politically without forming some sort of corporation or--as de Tocqueville put it--"association" and pooling donations? To overturn the Citizens United decision would not take corporate influence out of elections, but would be tantamount to allowing the six largest media conglomerates to continue to dominate the political debate: ABC/Disney, NewsCorp, Time-Warner, Viacom, NBCUniversal, and CBS (Cell Broadcast Service) See cell broadcast. .
Interestingly, the court found that the Montana law improperly violated freedom of speech and assembly through the "supremacy" clause of the U.S. Constitution instead of the 14th Amendment. Only the 14th Amendment bans states from taking away rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, exclaiming in the first section of the amendment: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge TO ABRIDGE, practice. To make shorter in words, so as to retain the sense or substance. In law it signifies particularly the making of a declaration or count shorter, by taking or severing away some of the substance from it. Brook, tit. Abridgment; Com. Dig. Abridgment; 1 Vin. Ab. 109. the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. ."